Microsoft’s Cybercrime Center is working with DHS & the FBI


The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) will provide information from experts on security issues as a think-tank; as well as global cyber threats. A hand-picked host of professionals have been employed to contribute to the DCU:

• Analysts • Developers
• Physicists
• Financial planners
• Engineers
• Government attorneys
• Law enforcement officers   

These teams will converge with “third-party cyber security analysts” and various private-sector partners across the globe.

David Finn, associate general counsel for the DCU explained: “Cybercrime is getting worse. There are nearly 400 million victims of cybercrime each year. And cybercrime costs consumers $113 billion per year. We understand that there’s no one single country, business or organization that can tackle cyber security and cybercrime threats alone. That’s why we invest in bringing partners into our center—law enforcement agencies, partners and customers— to work right alongside us.”

The FBI and Microsoft have teamed up to thwart a network of cybercriminals called the Citadel. 

Microsoft and the FBI coordinated with law enforcement agencies in 80 countries to protect technological and financial corporations.

The official codename of the mission, operation b54, was “part of a growing proactive effort by both the public and private sector to fight cybercrime, help protect people and businesses from online fraud and identity theft, and enhance cloud security for everyone.”

Microsoft stated that Citadel was “our most aggressive botnet operation to date” and that this was the first time the FBI, inter-policing agencies and Microsoft had “worked together . . . to execute a civil seizure warrant as part of a botnet disruption operation.” Proud of their accomplishment, Microsoft heralded themselves as stopping Citadel and “more than a thousand botnets that are responsible for stealing people’s online banking information and personal identities.”

To keep the public informed about Citadel and their counterparts, Microsoft has joined forced with various internet service providers (ISPs) and Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT).

Microsoft’s relationship with the federal government runs deep. Microsoft Lync is communicative software that helps the Department of Defense (DoD) and other military branches use chat, multimedia conference or voice channels. 

Microsoft System Center (MSC) is a collection of products that have “the ability to manage and monitor the full, heterogeneous spectrum of [the federal] agency’s software and hardware.” 

Grant funding from the DHS has been provided to Microsoft for “support technology training programs ranging from learning basic computer skills to using advanced business productivity applications.” 

Tom Richey, 2004 head of security efforts for Microsoft, explained that they have “had decades-long relationships with the agencies that currently now make up the Department of Homeland Security.”

The goal of the relationship between DHS and Microsoft has been to assist in the development of technology to help detect, prevent, and deter terrorist activity in both small and large cities — linking everyone from the top intelligence official to the cop on the street — in a worldwide effort to stay one step ahead of those who threaten America.” 

Richey said: “Microsoft Homeland Security has developed an actionable roadmap to align with the goals of the Department of Homeland Security – to build a National Response System over the next 10 years, which is an objective set by (former) Secretary Tom Ridge.”

Nearly 200 colleges have partnered with NSA and DHS:

Nearly 200 Universities across the country have partnered with the NSA and the DHS.

The NSA, headquartered in Fort Meade, Md., and the homeland security department have partnered with 181 schools to come up with new programs in hopes of drawing more students to the booming field while securing the nation’s information infrastructure.

For a school to be considered a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance or Cyber Defense it must adhere to the criteria outlined by the NSA and DHS. Certification ensures students leaving school with a background in cybersecurity have the necessary skills to help secure major networks for the government or private sector.

The requirements are broken down into 10 sections to evaluate the school’s cybersecurity program in areas including academic content, the number of faculty who actively teach courses in cybersecurity, and student involvement in cyber-research.

Schools must offer classes in C programming language, networking, discrete math and cyberdefense, among other topics, in order to meet the NSA’s academic content requirements.

In addition to government agencies, private companies have also partnered with computer science programs across the country in an attempt to educate students on how to effectively fortify and locate security breaches in computer networks.


DHS National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) Capabilities Guide

EPIC urges FCC to investigate AT&T’s practice of selling our phone records to the DEA & CIA:

In a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, EPIC urged the FCC to determine whether AT&T violated the Communications Act when it sold private consumer call detail information to the Drug Enforcement Administration and Central Intelligence Agency.

EPIC’s letter to the FCC about Verizon releasing our phone records to the NSA:

Three Senators have found no evidence that NSA/police phone spying is useful:

Three senators filed a brief in federal court on Tuesday supporting a lawsuit to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records.

Sens. Mark Udall, Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich who all have access to classified information as members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, argued that the controversial program does little to combat terrorism.

“The senators have reviewed this surveillance extensively and have seen no evidence that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records has provided any intelligence of value that could not have been gathered through less intrusive means,” lawyers for the lawmakers wrote.

“Because the government’s call-records program needlessly intrudes upon the privacy rights of hundreds of millions of Americans, the senators believe the bulk collection of these phone records should be ended,” they wrote.

Bill Clinton on NSA spying: “We are on the verge of having the worst of all worlds: We’ll have no security and no privacy”

Bill Clinton said (via Agence France-Presse):
“The question is when, if ever, is the government justified in going beyond the patterns to listen to telephone calls, read emails, read text messages, and who’s supposed to decide that?”


The fact that Snowden was able to receive a top-secret security clearance despite having only been a contractor for several months “made me think that we are on the verge of having the worst of all worlds: We’ll have no security and no privacy” ….
He’s right. Top security experts say that mass spying interferes with U.S. counter-terror efforts (more here and here) and harms web security.
Clinton isn’t the only former president to slam mass surveillance.  Jimmy Carter said that NSA spying on Americans meant that “America has no functioning democracy”. And Clinton’s VP – Al Gore –says it constitutes “crimes against the Constitution of the United States”.

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